Dozier School boy given proper burial in Daytona Beach

By Caitlin Wilson, Reporter
Last Updated: Saturday, August 13, 2016, 5:15 PM EDT

The family of a boy whose remains were identified at the Dozier School for Boys are a step closer to closure after he was given a proper burial Saturday in Daytona Beach.

  • Funeral held for boy who attended infamous Dozier School in 1950s
  • Former reform school is thought to be site of physical, sexual abuse
  • Dozens of sets of human remains have been found near the school

Investigators from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement identified Billy Jackson as well as 13 others and returned their remains to families after dozens of unmarked graves were found near the Marianna reform school thought to be where boys were physically and sexually abused.

A niece of Jackson, who attended Dozier in the early 1950s, said Saturday's service, brought her uncle home. The family, she said, still isn't at peace.

“At least now we feel like we have some sense of closure," Ida Cummings said. "We feel that we’ve completed the mission of bringing him home and (bringing him) where he wanted to be."

Official reports from the FDLE say Jackson died of a kidney infection, but his family believes there is still more to uncover.

“Until those that are responsible for the deaths of those children come forward, there will never be complete closure," Cummings said.

Several students at the now-shuttered school sent their condolences to the Jackson family.

Cummings said the support of others is a great help, but that their unwavering faith is what helps them cope most of all.

“You have to rest in the assurance that there is a mighty God that sits high, so we rest with assurance that God knows and will take care of everything,” she said.

The University of South Florida also investigated the school. In January, they released a report that said university researchers had found a total of 51 unmarked graves. They continue to work to recover remains at the school.

Since the release of that report by USF officials, Sen. Bill Nelson has called for a federal investigation into the deaths at Dozier.


'Until those that are responsible for the deaths of those children (at Dozier) come forward, there will never be complete closure,' said Billy Jackson's niece, Ida Cummings.